Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield, ME, has become the first hospital in the country to implement the Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program, which rates prepared meals, snacks and grab-and-go items according to their nutritional value, in its cafeteria.
Guiding Stars utilizes a proprietary algorithm that is grounded in evidence-based science and the most current guidelines and recommendations of leading national and international health organizations, such as the FDA and USDA. The system credits all edible foods based on the presence of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and whole grains, and debits for the presence of trans fat, saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars, and added sodium.
Food items are then awarded zero, one, two or three stars, with three stars signifying the best nutritional value. It is currently in more than 1,500 supermarkets as well as a number of public schools and colleges. It also appears on the Shopper mobile iPhone application.